Take 2: Thinking About Being a Self-Employed Writer?

This is a reworked post from almost exactly a year ago. The question is evergreen and the conversations it started were quite helpful then, as I think they will be now.

If you’re on the fence about making the leap to self-employed writer and how to make a living, perhaps something here will help you along.

My (former) home office

My (former) home office

About me: I only have myself to rely on for income. There is no alimony or child support or money from any non-client coming to me. I do not have any children to feed or any crazy-ridiculous expenses to worry about such as music lessons, sports teams, camp getaways, college tuition, etc.

I usually hear one of these two replies when people learn I’m an independent writer/editor: “Hey, that’s fabulous that you have no one but yourself to worry about! No money worries at all!” or “Oh, wow, if something happens to you, you might be up the proverbial river without the proverbial paddle. Does’t that stress you out?”

I don’t have a formula, but here’s what there is to know about how I am now 11+ years into being my own boss:

  • When I decided to leave the corporate world, I gave myself 1 year to get my finances in order and find affordable health insurance. It was/is important to me to have at least 4 months of savings to cover bills.
  • At the time I quit, I downsized (sold my house) and have been renting ever since, which is less responsibility and has more predictable expenses (to me), so I can save money as well as pay myself.
  • I am frugal – this means I minimize my bills, but I’m not lacking. I have Internet, a smartphone, use AC, and buy too much food when I go to the grocery store; I don’t work by candlelight to save on my electric bill or live in a library for free WiFi. 🙂 I always pay my credit card in full each month to avoid finance charges.
  • I maintain my older vehicle instead of having car payments.
  • I network to meet other solopreneurs and learn how they thrive in their business and try tips I learn.
  • I use LinkedIn to find contract opportunities.
  • I only take on jobs that interest me, which keeps me happy and lets me give my best to the client.
  • I absolutely love what I do and (literally) say “Thank you” out loud every day to the cosmos.

I don’t know of a magic bullet for self-employment success, but I know (1)  it’s important to love what you do and that you have to work at it. If you want it to work and approach it honestly, I believe you’re more than 75% to your goal.

And (2) having money readily available if monthly income checks don’t arrive when planned is quite helpful at keeping stress about money at under control.

What is your tip to someone thinking about becoming self-employed?

Or, what was your final hurdle before jumping into self-employment?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Thinking About Being a Self-Employed Writer?

I get asked quite often how I make a living as a professional writer and editor. Maybe something here will strike a chord with you if you are on the fence about being self-employed.

My home office

My home office

To know up front: I only have myself to rely on. There isn’t any alimony or child support or income from anyone coming to me — other than what I earn myself. I also do not have any children to feed or any crazy-ridiculous expenses to worry about such as sports teams, music lessons, camp getaways, college tuition, or anything else.

I usually hear one of these two replies: “Hey, that’s fabulous that you have no one but yourself to worry about! No money worries at all!” or “Oh, wow, if something happens to you, you might be up the proverbial river without the proverbial paddle. Does’t that stress you out?”

I don’t have a formula, but here’s what there is to know about how I am now 10 years into being my own boss:

  • When I decided to leave the corporate world, I gave myself 1 year to get my finances in order and find affordable health insurance. It was/is important to me to have at least 4 months of savings to cover bills.
  • At the time I quit, I downsized (sold my house) and have been renting ever since, which is less responsibility and has more predictable expenses (to me), so I can save money as well as pay myself.
  • I am frugal – this means I minimize my bills. I have Internet, a cell phone, use AC, and buy too much food when I go to the grocery store. It does not mean I’m working by candlelight to save on my electric bill or that I live in a library for free WiFi. 🙂 I always pay my credit card in full each month to avoid finance charges and I pay my bills monthly, not weekly.
  • I maintain my older vehicle instead of having car payments.
  • I network to meet other solopreneurs and learn how they thrive in their business and try tips I learn.
  • I use LinkedIn to find contract opportunities.
  • I only take on jobs that interest me, which keeps me happy and lets me give my best to the client (I always meet or beat deadlines).
  • I absolutely love what I do and (literally) say “Thank you” out loud every day to the cosmos.

I don’t know of a magic bullet for self-employment success, but I know (1)  it’s important to love what you do and do what you love and that you have to work at it (very much like a personal relationship). If you want it to work and approach it honestly, I believe you’re more than 75% to your goal.

And (2) having money readily available if monthly income checks don’t arrive when planned is quite helpful at keeping stress about money at under control.

What is your tip to someone thinking about becoming self-employed?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, and technology businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Maintaining healthy habits while working from home

Working from home is great, isn’t it?

You can roll out of bed, get to your desk and work in your pajamas or yoga pants without any stress or strain. Heck, you could even skip brushing your teeth, showering, or eating breakfast if you wanted.

And sleeping in? Well, without any commute or the need to get up and get ready for work, you’ve at least gained an hour every morning from the past daily commuter traffic drama, haven’t you?

Working from home is convenient. And for some, myself included, maybe too convenient at times.

It’s so easy to wake up and walk a few steps to the office chair — and sit… for hours, easily absorbed by our work and not being interrupted.

GetUpAndMove

With no one to tell us how we look, it’s easy to even stop worrying about appearance. We can work longer hours when we work from home, too. There’s always one more thing to get done, and we might as well tackle it sooner rather than later, right? Heck, there aren’t any dark parking lots to deal with or traffic to contend with – working from home gives us so much MORE time to work!

Event though these things sound like they might be benefits, without discipline, working from home can become unhealthy. We can get out of eating regularly, not drink enough water, forget to get up and move, and even sacrifice must-needed sleep.

When I worked in a corporate office I made sure to drink a lot so I had to get up several times during the day. Working from home, I got out of that habit, so now set a timer for an hour so that I’ll remember to drink something.

Exercise is definitely easier during the warm weather months. This winter was difficult in terms of getting outside to exercise, or even drive to the gym. But it’s necessary to find ways to stand (standing desk, anyone? I know Lee has talked about the benefits at least twice) and move around to get the blood flowing and the slouched back straightened out.

I gained several pounds over the winter due to not moving enough and grabbing junk food out of the pantry instead of taking the time to prepare healthy meals. Convenience isn’t always a good thing!

Have you come upon any health concerns or challenges since you started working from home? How have you dealt with them? What do you do to make working from home a healthier option than the typical office job?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.